Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (Instant Pot)

Vegan garlic mashed cauliflower made in the instant pot in under 15 minutes is going to become your new favorite low carb side dish! Made with just a few simple ingredients, this easy recipe is vegan, gluten free, paleo, Whole30 and keto friendly! It also doesn’t have any butter or cream and is nut free and allergy friendly!

Overhead shot of a hand holding a spoon scooping out a serving of vegan garlic mashed cauliflower from a large bowl over a grey striped napkin
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Why you’ll love this Garlic Mashed Cauliflower 

Don’t worry, no one in your family will know that this creamy vegan garlic mashed cauliflower is healthy, they will just be asking for more with happy smiles on their faces!

Dave is not the biggest fan of cauliflower. In fact, when I make cauliflower rice, he turns his nose up at it. He does like roasted cauliflower but let’s be honest, that can take up to 45 minutes to make and I often don’t have that kind of time to get dinner on the table.

In an attempt to add in more veggies to his diet, I decided to try mashed cauliflower again! I have made mashed cauliflower before, but he didn’t love the flavor or the texture.

I thought that the creamy garlic sauce I made for this creamy butternut squash noodle dish would be the perfect addition to both the texture and the flavor. And I was right! This sauce pretty much makes everything taste amazing!

How do you make garlic mashed cauliflower in the Instant Pot?

Overhead shot of an instant pot filled with vegan garlic mashed cauliflower

To make this mashed cauliflower in the Instant Pot, you will need the trivet that comes with your instant pot and a steaming basket. I use the steam basket that came with my pots and pans, but you can also find steam baskets online pretty easily.

  • Simply cut the bottom leaves off a head of cauliflower and slice it lengthwise from left to right creating ¼ inch steaks of cauliflower. Chop these down again 2-3 times until you have a mountain of chopped cauliflower. The shape doesn’t matter since you will be mashing it.
  • Place the trivet and the steaming basket insert into your Instant Pot. Add the chopped cauliflower and 1 cup of water and place the lid on the instant pot and make sure the vent is set to “seal”.
  • Cook the cauliflower on high pressure for 3 minutes. Once the cauliflower has cooked, manually release the pressure (watch your fingers, use a long wooden spoon and keep your face away from the vent).
  • While the cauliflower is steaming, make the creamy garlic sauce in a bullet or blender 
  • Remove the basket of cauliflower and trivet and drain the water from the bottom of the instant pot. Dump the steamed cauliflower back into the pot and keep the warming function on.
  • Add the creamy garlic sauce to the cauliflower and use an immersion blender and blend the cauliflower and the creamy garlic sauce together until they create the consistency you love.

Do I have to cut up the cauliflower?

No! Actually you can make this in the Instant Pot without the steamer basket and without chopping up a head of cauliflower! All you need to do is cut off the bottom leaves of the cauliflower and then add the full head of cauliflower to the instant pot and add 1 cup of water. You will need to cook it at high pressure for 15 minutes (instead of 3 minutes for the chopped cauliflower).

Once it’s done, manually release the pressure and make sure you pour out the water before mashing the cauliflower!

Overhead shot of a large bowl of vegan garlic mashed cauliflower over a grey striped napkin with a spoon in the bowl

Can I use frozen cauliflower?

Yes! You can use frozen cauliflower florets to make this vegan garlic mashed cauliflower. Just increase the cooking time from 3 minutes to 5 minutes in your instant pot!

What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

  • You can easily make this vegan garlic mashed cauliflower on the stove as well!
  • Chop the cauliflower per the instructions above.
  • Add the chopped cauliflower to a steaming basket. Be sure you have enough water in the pan but you don’t want the water to be touching the cauliflower if possible. NOTE: depending on how big your pan is, you may need to do this in 2 batches.
  • Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, steam the cauliflower for 7-10 minutes until super soft and fork tender (you can easily poke it with a knife).
  • Make the creamy garlic sauce while the cauliflower is steaming.
  • Drain the water and add the cauliflower to the bottom pan. Add in the creamy garlic sauce and blend with immersion blender (affiliate).

How to make the creamy garlic sauce:

I prefer to use the smallest blender cup for our small bullet blender to make sauces like this. You can also use your Vitamix or other high speed blender but I love how easy the bullet makes this!

In a bullet blender combine the following:

Blend for 1 minute until smooth


Spoon holding a spoonful of vegan garlic mashed cauliflower over the instant pot

Garlic olive oil:

If you don’t know, Dave doesn’t tolerate garlic very well, so instead of garlic powder, we use roasted garlic olive oil to add garlic to our dishes. It’s super easy to find (I get ours at Trader Joe’s) but you can also use garlic infused avocado oil which I found at Publix and they also have online!

However, if you don’t have roasted garlic olive oil, you can make this using garlic powder and good quality olive oil no problem. See the recipe card for easy substitution.

Hemp hearts:

If you do not have hemp hearts on hand, you can also use raw cashews that have been soaked in hot water. To quickly soak the cashews, add them to water and microwave for 1 minute. Let sit at least 5 minutes in the water, but 20 minutes is best. Drain the water before use.

Immersion blender:

  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, you will want to use a food processor to make this creamy vegan garlic cauliflower mash. Make sure you pulse the cauliflower, don’t blend it.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash the cauliflower by hand with a hand masher or
  • If you must use a blender, blend slowly, pulsing instead of blending. Using a high speed blender often makes this too thin and more like soup.

Can you Meal Prep Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower?

Large bowl of vegan garlic mashed cauliflower over a grey striped napkin with a spoon in the bowl

The instant pot makes this dish so simple to make the day of. However, if you want to make a big batch for meal prep or to prepare for dinner the day before, you can!

There are 2 options for meal prepping this vegan garlic mashed cauliflower:

  1. Steam the cauliflower and make the creamy garlic sauce ahead of time and blend it together the day of and then heat it on the stove or microwave after blending
  2. Reheat this creamy vegan garlic mashed cauliflower on the stove for 5 minutes over medium low heat (preferred method) or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot. Heating this on the stove is preferred because it will allow some of the excess water that might release from the cauliflower to steam off.

What can you serve this vegan garlic mashed cauliflower with:

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Overhead shot of a hand holding a spoon scooping out a serving of vegan garlic mashed cauliflower from a large bowl over a grey striped napkin

Vegan Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (Instant Pot)

$7.26 Recipe/$0.91 Serving
Instant Pot garlic mashed cauliflower is the perfect healthy low carb side dish and is so easy to make! Dairy free and low carb, this simple recipe is vegan, paleo, gluten free, Whole30 and keto friendly! And you can make this recipe without a food processor and in under 15 minutes! You will not believe how rich and creamy this mashed cauliflower dish is! 
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: garlic mashed cauliflower, instant pot mashed cauliflower, paleo mashed cauliflower, vegan mashed cauliflower
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Guided Recipe Video


  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower - $5.30
  • 1 cup water - $0.00

Creamy Garlic Sauce


  • Remove the green leaves from the bottom of cauliflower as well as any large pieces of stem on the bottom
  • Place the cauliflower on a cutting board and cut the cauliflower lengthwise from left to right in 1/4 to 1/2 inch steaks. 
  • Cut the cauliflower steaks down again 2-3 times until you have a mountain of chopped cauliflower. Don’t bother trying to make little florets since this will all be mashed
  • Once the cauliflower is chopped, add the trivet and steaming basket to your instant pot.* 
  • Add the cauliflower to the steaming basket and add 1 cup of water to the instant pot
  • Put the lid on and make sure the vent is moved to “seal”
  • Set to high pressure for 3 minutes
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, make the creamy garlic sauce by combining all the ingredients in a high speed blender on high for 1 minute
  • Once the Instant Pot is done cooking, manually release the pressure by turning the vent from “seal” to “vent”. Use a large wooden spoon to keep your hands from the vent. Also make sure you don’t put your face or hands anywhere that the steam could hit you. 
  • Once the pressure has been released, open the Instant Pot and remove the steaming basket and trivet. Empty the water
  • Leave the “warming” function on your instant pot, add the cauliflower back to the Instant Pot Insert. 
  • Add the creamy garlic sauce to the steamed cauliflower and mash with an immersion blender until you get the consistency you desire.**
  • Serve hot. See post for reheating instructions under “meal prep tips”


Stove top directions:
  • If you do not have an Instant Pot, steam cauliflower on the stove in a steamer basket until fork tender (5-7 minutes, covered).
  • Drain the cauliflower and add it back to the pot. 
  • Make the creamy garlic sauce as stated. 
  • Add creamy garlic sauce to the pot with soft cauliflower and blend with an immersion blender or add to a food processor or high speed blender. 
Tip: If you do not have an immersion blender, use a food processor and pulse the steamed cauliflower and creamy garlic sauce together
Low FODMAP option: Use garlic infused olive oil instead of olive oil and omit the garlic powder. 

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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